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‘Venture To Fruition’

Arktura, a California-based designer and manufacturer of architectural systems, announced Tuesday it is planning a $7.3 million expansion in the town of Ellicott. Pictured are some of Arktura's architectural work, including the Atmosphera Pulse ceiling. Photo courtesy of Arktura

A California-based designer and manufacturer of architectural systems announced it plans Tuesday to expand in Chautauqua County, and bring with it 50 new jobs to the area.

Arktura creates custom ceiling tiles, acoustic panels and facade systems. Officials are in the process of purchasing a 134,858-square-foot facility located at 1 Precision Way in the town of Ellicott — previously home to Acu-Rite and Heidenhain.

The Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency on Tuesday voted to provide Arktura with financial incentives, including real property tax abatements (PILOT), sales and use tax exemptions and a mortgage recording tax exemption.

Arktura plans to invest $7.3 million to expand its existing Los Angeles, California-based operations to Chautauqua County. The new plant is projected to facilitate expedited lead times to the U.S. market for its products, provide local services to East Coast markets and increase its overall production capacity. Arktura said it plans to hire 50 full-time employees during the first three years of operation.

“This is a great project for not only Ellicott, but the county as a whole,” said Mark Geise, deputy county executive for Economic Development/CEO of the county IDA. “We have been actively marketing this high-tech, modern facility for several years now, and to have a company of this caliber purchase and renovate it, while creating 50 jobs, is a dream come true. I really need to give a lot of credit to our business development team here at the IDA, especially Linda Burns, for making this a reality.”

Rob Kilian, Chris Kabatsi and Kevin Kane — three architects and former classmates from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Albany — founded Arktura in 2008.

“We could not be happier to have discovered Chautauqua County and we are thrilled to be working closely with the IDA to get this operation up and running,” said Kabatsi, Arktura CEO, in a news release.

“We will be putting together an industry leading facility filled with the latest machinery. We are excited to be a new addition to a community with such a rich tradition of manufacturing.”

Patrick McLaughlin, Ellicott town supervisor, said he had been working with county officials, including the IDA, to find tenants for the complex. Heidenhain announced in April 2018 that 40 employees of the optics and electronics business would be laid off as it moved its operations elsewhere. MD Electronics, also previously located on Precision Way in Ellicott, announced in September of that year it was closing and moving business to Mexico.

“I have been working very closely with the county and the CCIDA on efforts to attract businesses to locate here and create jobs, and to put legacy buildings back into use,” McLaughlin said. “This accomplishes both objectives, which is really good news. I would like to thank Mr. Giese and Mr. Dixon for their hard work in bringing this new venture to fruition.”

Arktura has also applied for benefits and incentives through New York State Empire State Development and Office of Community Renewal.

“This is another example of the positive economic progress we are making in Chautauqua County,” said County Executive PJ Wendel. “Too often we only hear the negative news about what’s going on in the county. I want to highlight more of the positive things happening here, and this is a great example of that. Our economic development team was successful in attracting a company poised for growth to locate here from outside of the region to fill a vacant building, while creating a substantial number of good-paying jobs.”

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